Here’s why I love Valentine’s Day. Two years ago this Sunday, I took a chance and went out with a woman I met through my aborted standup career. Originally, it was to be purely social, meet up for drinks and, oh, did she know any nice girls? My marriage was coming to an end, and I didn’t want to sit around the house moping.
The only day we could schedule was Valentine’s Day that year. I said, “Look. We’re both alone. Let me take you out and spoil you for Valentine’s Day. Even if it doesn’t work, we’ll both have a good time, and we won’t be sitting at home bummed out over a stupid Hallmark holiday.”
We had a wonderful dinner at Parker’s Blue Ash grill. We had our second date the next night, where she introduced me to her son, AJ. The next night, we had our third date. I’ll leave the meaning of that to your imagination.
By April, I’d proposed. By July, we were married. By September, we’d packed up, moved to my condo, realized we hated it there, and moved back to her place.
The week before I went out with Juanita for the first time, I was sitting in a hotel room in Chicago watching the Superbowl. I’d gone to Love Is Murder the day before and had a few drinks with friends, telling them about my suddenly new single status. If anyone had told me the previous night or even as I watched the Superbowl that I’d be remarried by the end of summer, I’d have said they were insane.
But Nita, as I’ve come to call her, and I fell in love immediately. The reason we were able to marry as quickly as we did without the benefit of a shotgun is complete honesty. I explained to Nita what was going on in my life and was even up front about a couple of things many people wouldn’t admit to a new lover. My reasoning? It’s better to admit it and be done than to make excuses later. She was completely honest with me, with her situation, and things she had done.
Well, if there are no secrets and you spend all your time together, a short courtship and engagement is doable. Of course, there was a third factor, AJ. When Nita introduced us, he was 13. I decided right there and then that, since he would be more and more of an adult everyday I saw him, I would simply treat him like one. I didn’t expect him to throw his arms around me and say, “You’re my new dad!” But as long as he knew I considered him and his mother a package deal, things would work. They’ve worked better than any of us expected.
Two years ago, I had every reason to hate Valentine’s Day. And if you check out the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, you’ll find there are plenty of people who absolutely hate February 14, of if they like it, it’s because the Daytona 500 runs on the 14th this year.
But for me, it was the start of a new chapter for me. And that chapter was a completely blank slate.